In light of severe criticism from some of its closest European allies, the Bush administration agreed yesterday to drop its demand for US troops serving in United Nations peacekeeping missions to be declared immune from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Instead, Bush is calling for a one-year exemption from prosecution for US troops – a compromise to be voted on by the UN Security Council.
This position represents a marked retreat from the Bush administration’s threats just weeks ago to withdraw US personnel from all peacekeeping missions if they were not exempted from the ICC. However, some Security Council members have called the new proposal an “improvement,” but “not enough.”
The ICC, created by the Rome Treaty of 1998 to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, has widespread support in the US from groups such as the Feminist Majority because it identifies gender crimes and the crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Article 7 of the Rome Statute presents clear language that defines gender crimes as rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity.
So far, 74 countries have ratified the Rome Treaty – on December 31, 2000 former President Bill Clinton added the US signature, however, President Bush renounced it in May.
Media Resources: Washington Post 7/11/02; New York Times 7/11/02; FOXNews.com 7/10/02
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .